Is Arrow‘s Oliver Queen really dead? We talk to star Stephen Amell about Oliver Queen’s supposed death, his favorite upcoming episode and more … but let’s take a moment to talk about how we got here.
The Season 3 midseason finale of Arrow left fans aghast when the beloved Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) took a throat punch from Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable) that sent him to his knees in a trial by combat. [Major spoilers ahead.] As Ra’s approached Oliver he said in a soft whisper, “Don’t be afraid my son, death comes for us all. You can only evade it for so long.” Yeah, right, we initially thought — this is Arrow, he’s going to get out of this. ‘Afraid’ suddenly was an understatement, and a sickening uneasiness came over everyone watching, and what followed was more than horrifying. Ra’s looked Oliver in the eyes and without hesitation rammed his sword through his upper torso pulling it out in gory satisfaction. Blood streamed out of Oliver’s mouth, memories of his life flashed before us and music was cued signaling that ‘holy shit this might actually be the end.’ It was happening way too fast. As Ra’s rambled over a dying Oliver: “Make honorable his reception … protect him from the punishment of the grave … and the torment of the fire,” he really was preparing to end this for good. Cameras panned and we saw the two from a top of the cliff. Ra’s raised up his leg and with one swift kick he catapulted Oliver over the edge. He threw down his sword (signaling the job was done) and walked off leaving us in darkness. We sat speechless. That agonizing music played on. We sat in disbelief thinking: How could they do this?
The only hope was a two-second shot that showed Oliver had landed on a ledge.
At the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour panel, “The Heroes and Villains of Arrow and The Flash,” many members of the cast of Arrow were present including Stephen Amell (Oliver/Arrow), Katie Cassidy (Laurel/Black Canary), Colton Haynes (Roy/Arsenal), David Ramsey (John Diggle), John Barrowman (Malcolm/The Dark Archer), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom) and Matt Nable (Ra’s al Ghul).
Amell shared that he knew prior to going into Season 3 about his battle with Ra’s and the outcome. “I personally love when there’s adversity for the protagonist and when we give other characters on the show the opportunity to acquit themselves and to come more into leading roles. If we don’t give other characters the opportunity to shoulder the load, then we give nothing for the viewers to attach themselves to. … I’m excited for everyone’s opportunity.”
While we can confirm that Amell is definitely back, we’re not 100 percent at what capacity. When we asked him what it would have taken for Oliver to survive, he told us: “We just saw him fall. We’ve seen Oliver survive, so whether he went straight off the cliff, whether something broke his fall, whether he hit the ground, whether there’s — we have mystical herbs on the show that have healing powers. We’ve seen the Lazarus Pit, although that’s not something that’s going to be used for Oliver. I hope he survives. I like playing him.”
Prior to Oliver battling Ra’s he proclaimed his love to Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards). Amell reflected on Oliver’s journey to that realization saying, “Both Laurel and Sarah were elements of his past. Obviously Sara and Oliver tried to rekindle things but both of those relationships rely heavily on the type of person he was before he left, as he has become more accepting, less introverted, less damaged by what happened to him the five years that he was away. The guiding principle in that transformation was Felicity. … Before this season, when I said there’s one woman in Oliver’s life this year and that is Felicity. I don’t see that changing.”
Filling what we are to believe will be a void is Black Canary (Cassidy), who is eager to suit up. “You can’t just all of a sudden overnight become a superhero, you have to go through this journey. And Season 2, for Laurel, she definitely hit rock bottom, and was able to come back on top. Now in Season 3, after losing her sister … she goes from avenging her sister, to honoring her sister, to becoming her sister. And it’s been amazing. I love to kick some ass.”
When asked to reflect on some of his favorite episodes, Amell selected an episode airing in the second half of Season 3 — Episode 14, titled “The Return,” to take note of. “I’m always going to be a slave to the recent, to the new. I was so proud of our midseason finale,” he shares. “I think the episode when Moira died last year [Season 2, Episode 20] was where our show’s execution was at its finest. I’ve no doubt towards the end of this season — [the best episodes] do happen towards the end of the season because there’s just more at stake and you’re getting the opportunity to pay off more things. I have incredibly high hopes for our 14th episode this year. I think if you are a fan of the show, and you’ve been a fan of the show from the beginning — and you’ve been paying attention — you’re really going to enjoy that episode.”
When it comes to keeping up his amazing physique, Amell shared how things have changed since shooting the pilot. “I went so balls to the wall with training for the pilot. And the pilot is this standalone event where we have 17 days to shoot one episode, I have a month to prep and I have so much adrenaline — I’m able to workout every day we are filming,” he shared. “This season is a 23-episode marathon … I worked until 4 o’clock in the morning on Saturday and I had to travel for work yesterday and now I’m here. I have to pick my spots and I have to get notice from the producers if, and when, I’m going to be shirtless on the show so I can ramp up, because I can’t go through a process where I maintain the pace of the pilot — it’s impossible.”
The second half of Season 3 of Arrow returns to The CW on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 8pmET. The episode is titled “Left Behind” (Episode 10) and it follows the team as they try to protect the city in Arrow’s absence. The team fears the worst may have befallen their friend, but Felicity refuses to believe Oliver could be dead.
Images: Credit: The CW